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The Big, Strong Man
Traditional, circa 1928.
Notes: This song was written, (or at the least it was re-derived), in or
about 1928. The Jeffries-Johnson fight was held in 1910. The Lusitania
was sunk in 1915. The movie, "The Big, Strong Man", was released in
1922. Jack Dempsey, (mentioned in the first verse instead of George
Forman), lost his crown in 1926. Mae West was most popular in 1928
and a bit later.

I am often dumbfounded at the liberties singers will take with lyric.
Whereas I agree that lyrics need to be altered to reflect the style and
sensibilities of the performer and the audience, some perfectly good,
even clever bits are missed through ignorance or inattentiveness. As an
example I offer one word from this song: of. In the second verse, my
brother, Sylvest is going to swim from New York to Italy. He jumps off
the harbor and swims like a man of Cork. Some versions have: like a
man from Cork. Others have: like a man made of cork. He swam like a
man of Cork maintains the double entendre, but very few versions
include it.
The Big, Strong Man

Have you heard about the big, strong man? (What man?)
He lives in a caravan (Caravan?)
Have you heard about the Jefferies-Johnson fight
Oh Lord, what a hell of a night

You can take all the heavyweights you got (What you got?)
We've got a man who can beat the whole lot (Whole lot?)
He used to work here as a doorman
Now he's goin' to fight George Foreman

That's me brother, Sylvest (What's he got?)
He's got a row of forty medals on his chest (Big Chest!)
He killed fifty vermin in the west
He knows no rest

Hell of a man (Hells' fire!)
Don't push (Just shove)
Plenty room for you and me

He's got an arm like a leg (Ladies' leg)
And a punch that could sink a battleship (Bullshit!)
1: It takes all the army and the navy to put the wind up Sylvest
2: It takes all the army and the navy to knock the block off Sylvest
3: It takes all the army and the navy to take the bra off Mae West

He thought that he'd go to Italy (Italy?)
And he thought that he'd go by sea (I see)
So he jumped off the harbor in New York
And he swam like a man o' Cork

He saw the Lusitania in distress (What'd he do?)
He put the Lusitania on his chest (Big Chest!)
Then he drank all the water in the sea
And he walked all the way to Italy

He thought that he'd go to old Japan (Old Japan)
So they brought out the whole brass band (Brass band)
He played every instrument they got
Like a lad he beat the whole lot

The old church choir did sing (Sing song)
And the old church bells did ring (Ding dong)
And they all turned out to say farewell
To my big brother, Sylvest
Driven to Drink
Live at the Dublin Pub track 6